Cornish geothermal rum a spirited winner in UK Government’s Green Distillery Competition

Cornish geothermal rum a spirited winner in UK Government’s Green Distillery Competition Drawings for planned Cornish Geothermal Distillery (source: Grimshaw Architects)
Alexander Richter 8 Jan 2021

The team around the planned geothermal rum production by Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company has won as part of the UK Government's Green Distillery Competition.

A 100% sustainable scheme to geothermally mature and distill rum using heat generated by the UK’s first geothermal power plant, in one of the most deprived parts of the country, has won one of the biggest research and development grants awarded in the Government’s Green Distillery Competition.

The Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company’s (CGDC) Celsius® project will receive GBP75,000 in the first phase of government funding aimed at cutting carbon emissions in the industry and supporting new, green jobs. The award is one of the highest among 17 successful distillery projects across Scotland and England announced today as winning between GBP 44,000 and GBP 75,000 from the £10million initial R&D fund.

CGDC is more than two years into the research and development of its £10million, 30 job Celsius® scheme to geothermally distill and mature rum in an ultra high-tech, carbon neutral biome using heat and energy from Geothermal Engineering Limited’s (GEL) pilot power plant at United Downs in Cornwall’s historic mining heartland.

CGDC Founder Matt Clifford says, “As an ambitious, start-up distillery project, aiming to get everything sustainably right from the word go, we are overwhelmed and beyond grateful to be amongst the highest beneficiaries of the Government’s Green Distillery award: it’s an endorsement and an understanding at the very highest level of what we aim to do.

“We have poured our hearts and souls into this vision which combines our absolute passion for rum with root and branch sustainability, much-needed investment and quality full-time jobs utilising local skills and businesses in this part of Cornwall.”

The Government’s Green Distillery backing will allow eleven distillery projects across Scotland and a further six in England to kick-start green innovations, helping them harness energy sources such as low-carbon hydrogen, biomass, repurposed waste – and in the Celsius® case geothermal energy – to power their operations.

The awards are part of the Government’s stated commitment to a clean, resilient recovery, working towards the UK’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050 and comes in addition to ambitious green targets announced in the Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng says, “Building back greener from the pandemic is something we can all raise a toast to. Every business can play a part in the green industrial revolution and this funding will allow UK distilleries to lead the way by making their production cleaner while also creating jobs.”

CGDC’s outline planning application for a rum cask maturation facility and visitor centre await consideration by Cornwall Council planners for land a pipeline and cable’s distance from where GEL’s project team has drilled over 5km into ancient granite to tap the deep geothermal heat from which significant quantities of clean, renewable electricity and heat will be produced in 2022.

The initial phase would see ethically produced, Bonsucro* accredited rum distilled around the world brought to the site, laid down in oak casks made and repaired by CGDC coopers (barrel makers) and stored in the maturation biome to enhance the product’s quality and flavour.

The biome would incorporate 4 patent-pending “maturation pods”, each holding 800 X 200L casks, amounting to 640,000L of rum in total which would be tropically matured over a period of five to ten years.

CGDC’s Celsius® team hopes the rum cask maturation facility would be up and running by the late summer of 2022 – and that a demonstrable success of this “Catalyst Phase” could draw further interest and investment into the creation of a full £30million Cornish geothermal rum distillery with potential to create up to 100 jobs.

Jobs created in the Celsius® Catalyst Phase would include highly skilled Master Coopers and Master Blenders as well as offering apprenticeships to local young people. CGDC is engaging with the communities close to United Downs and aims to work with the Cornwall Mining World Heritage Site team to preserve and enhance the historic area to pay tribute to those who worked above and below this land right back to medieval times.

For more information on CGDC’s proposed rum cask maturation facility at United Downs please visit . For further details on the UK government’s Green Distillery Competition visit

Source: company release by email